The Facts About Chronic Dry Mouth

Feb 3rd, 2012 | By | Category: Dental News, Preventive Care

dry mouth treatment fresnoSymptoms of Dry Mouth

Do your lips stick to your teeth when you are speaking? Do you feel as if you are about to choke when you try to swallow food? Is your bad breath affecting your social life? Are these problems worsening the older you get? If so, you may have xerostomia. You may think this annoying problem is a normal part of the aging process, but that is not the case. There are ways to effectively manage your chronic dry mouth so it won’t take over your life.

What is xerostomia, or dry mouth syndrome?

Xerostomia is characterized by a chronic dry mouth caused by a lack of saliva production. It is not really a disease as much as a side effect of other conditions or behaviors. Patients with xerostomia can experience many unpleasant symptoms, including difficulty chewing, swallowing, and speaking, as well as bad breath. A lack of saliva can also cause tooth decay and gum disease.

What causes xerostomia?

Dry mouth can be caused by an underlying disease process, such as diabetes, cancer, lupus, or Sjogren’s syndrome. Sometimes, the medications used to treat chronic illnesses are the cause. As older adults are more likely to be on one or more medications, dry mouth is especially common among senior citizens. Other medications that can lead to xerostomia include antidepressants, antihistamines, and amphetamines. Recreational drugs such as methamphetamines and marijuana are also major culprits. Other substances that can lead to dry mouth include: caffeine, carbonated drinks, alcohol, and tobacco products. In some cases, simple dehydration will make your mouth dry.

How can I prevent xerostomia?

  • Check with your physician to determine if any of your current medical conditions or medications could be causing your xerostomia. If so, perhaps he or she can modify your treatment plan to help alleviate the symptoms.
  • Eliminate any offending substances such as caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs to see if your xerostomia improves.
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and keep your mouth moist.
  • Avoid sugar.
  • Chew gum containing the ingredient xylitol, which can inhibit oral bacteria.
  • Use a mouthwash formulated to treat dry mouth.
  • Brush and floss at least twice a day.
  • Visit Dr. Denes for regular checkups.

If your dry mouth is affecting your quality of life, Drs. Alex and Claudia Denes can help. Call Fresno Dental Studio today at (559) 297-1800 to schedule an appointment. We treat patients in Fresno, Clovis, Sanger, Mendota, Orange Cove, Reedley, Selma, and the surrounding areas.

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